Pirates of the Caribbean at the Magic Kingdom To Be Closed All Summer Due to Safety Concerns

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We kind of knew this was coming, but it seems Pirates of the Caribbean at the Magic Kingdom will be closed May 11th through September 25th, 2015.

Photo by Joe Hogarty, WDWNT.com
Photo by Joe Hogarty, WDWNT.com

A two day refurbishment of the attraction this week allowed Disney to assess issues with the new boats & the ride track and create a game plan to fix the system, removing safety concerns.

Last summer, a guest who had his hand outside of the boat lost tips of his ring and pinky fingers as the then-recently installed new boats rubbed against the older ride track. Guests were not permitted to sit in the last row of the Pirates of the Caribbean boats on either coast as Disney investigated the issues.

Beyond safety concerns, the new boats have been problematic with many taking on water or severe damage while riding along the ride-path. Guests have complained about getting much wetter on the ride than in years past, as the boats roughly passed through the turn in the track following the ride’s one drop.

Rumors have also insisted that some scene changes were coming to the ride in late-2015/early 2016, so it is unclear if any of those changes will be made now or wait for another refurbishment down the road. We’ll just have to wait and see on that.

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About the author

Tom Corless

Tom has been regularly visiting the Walt Disney World® Resort from the time he was 4 months old. While he has made countless visits in the last 28 years, he did not become a truly active member in the Disney fan community until the summer of 2007, when he decided to launch the WDW News Today website and podcast. Tom has since become an Orlando-local and is a published author on Walt Disney World.

68 Comments

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  • Glad they’re fixing it. The last couple of trips down, I’ve gotten very wet on this ride. Not like, “oh, haha, a little splash!” More like, “geez, I hope my camera equipment isn’t ruined because my backpack just got soaked.” It’s not something one expects on Pirates. Also, I hope they remedy the horrible, HORRIBLE boat backup (and jarring bump!) problems at the last scene. This is a major problem on Pirates and on Small World. Terrible show; terrible way to end a ride — your last impression of the ride is being stuck in an interminable, painfully slow boat queue waiting for it to finally END already!!

      • For the most part the end of the ride backups have more to do with what’s happening at load and unload then the actual ride itself. As for the bumping what do you expect with the momentum the boats a little bumper boats happens that’s why there’s rubber on the outside.

  • Is it because people are getting fatter, and so the boats sink more, taking on more water, and gaining more momentum on the drops?

  • If people would pay attention to the saying please keep your hands and feet inside the ride at all times” then they wouldn’t have issues like this.Now I can see if it was a child that got hurt but a grown adult? Now what about Its a small world and Splash mountain?? Remember you can’t fix stupid!!

    • Right. Exactly. 100% correct. Say it with me one more time, “you can’t fix stupid”. So as a business, you have to go out of your way to insure the safety of even your dumbest customers. If you don’t, you will not remain in business very long. I’m confused as to why some folks here are having such a hard time with the concept.

      Guess how much a judge is going to care when Disney’s lawyers say, “well, we told him not to do it!” Hint: a little less than none at all.

  • Folks, Disney World Pirates, the refurbishment they are doing now, is OVER DUE. I used to work there and worked it for 2yrs. When we got the new boats, WE THE CMS COMPLAINED ABOUT IT!! like we actually called OSHA complained. Nothing came out of it until now. We told them that the boats weren’t riding right and were taking on more water than they really should’ve. The old boats we had, we only had to clean out any water that accumulated in them maybe once a day, if that. When we got the new boats, EVERY SINGLE BOAT HAD TO BE DEALT WITH when it came to Unload because of the water they were getting. So with all the water getting in, its caused the boats to be heavier and therefore getting stuck somewhere more often. And no its not because we overload the boat. Those boats are MADE TO HOLD 23 PEOPLE that’s 4 people in rows 1-5 and 3 in row 6 and WE ARE TRAINED TO DO SO.So while it might look like some people wont fit, trust us you will. The only time we’ll hesitate or give a group of 4 two rows is when we see that the party members are of size. Otherwise, its 4 to a row and 3 in the back.
    Its the amount of water in the boat that makes them heavier.

    And FYI, there’s multiple signs at the front of the attraction that say you might get wet. Read the signs, every attraction has one.

    Also when the boats get stuck, we know about it the second it happens. Problem is, IT TAKES TIME for us to call everyone that needs to know that there’s a stuck boat, and get a person down there. And if the CM can’t get it to move, ITS UP TO THE MANAGER to make the next call. So all those times that people have been stuck there “for an hour” (btw at 15-20 MINUTES manager is supposed to call it and get everyone out, but its also at managers discretion) its because the managers are actually are TRYING TO AVOID CLOSING the attraction just for the boat being stuck. Although yes, I’ve been there when they take forever to call it when all the CM’s already know and have gotten ready to clear the building while the managers work with maintenance on getting the boat to move without having to evac (evacuate) Also, an evac takes about an hour or so to do. So for the manager its either take 20-30 minutes to get the boat moving or close the attraction and take an hour to get everyone out. THEY WILL TRY EVERYTHING ELSE FIRST BEFORE EVAC-ING!! They hate evacs.

    And yes the boats back up some times, mostly due to an elderly/handicapped person that needs assistance from family members to get in/out. And for the love of GOD, if its the day you’re leaving, as in your packed and ready to go to the airport to go home, don’t come in to the park. You have no idea how many people have yelled at me and say “We are going to miss our flight, get us out now!” all angry like and I’m over here thinking “Shouldn’t you be at the airport like two hours ago?” of course we can’t say that, but we do think it.

    • Wren: I’m currently investigating an incident that’s potentially associated with the following portion of your comment: “When we got the new boats, WE THE CMS COMPLAINED ABOUT IT!! like we actually called OSHA complained. Nothing came out of it until now. We told them that the boats weren’t riding right and were taking on more water than they really should’ve.” Please contact me at 850-224-3310 as soon as possible. Thanks so much.

  • Not much better in Anaheim. Remember, WDW has a version of the Small World “Rubbermaid” boats, designed to compensate for the increase in the average weight of guests over the decades. When they tried a variant of this boat at Pirates in Anaheim a few years ago, the boats basically tore themselves apart on Disneyland’s longer drops (2). Now WDI is stumbling around testing a new prototype in Anaheim and failing miserably. Cast Members are at a high burnout rate and morale is at an all-time low. Even the iconic Pegleg Pirate (yes, there has been a Cast Member with a real pegleg) is leaving soon. So there is no joy in Pirateville!